I am reading The Incredible Journey of Faith by Ray Pritchard. It is small work. But it is taking me some time to read it. It seems that every couple of pages, I stumble over some statement that I am forced to wrestle with before I can go on. It happened to me again last night, as I was reading a chapter that focuses on a petition of the model prayer: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10b). Pritchard calls this petition that hardest prayer you will ever pray. And I agree with him. For many reasons, this is a difficult prayer to pray sincerely, confidently, and joyfully. Invariably, it will cost you to pray with prayer. It costs Jesus when he prayed this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it will cost you. But this prayer is worth what it costs. Consider the alternative. It’s either God’s will or your will. And if you think your will for your life is the prevailing reality, you are deceived. And if you think that your will for your life is what it most important, you are even more deceived. God’s will is going to be done. And God’s will is wise, even when it seems illogical. God’s will is good, even when it hurts. And God’s will is successful, even when you have to lose some stuff to trust and obey God. Pritchard writes:
When we ask that God’s will be done, we are implicitly asking that our will be overturned, if necessary. (p. 55)
Indeed, to pray this pray is to acknowledge that you are not really in control in the first place. The sooner we acknowledge and embrace the fact that God is in control and has the last word over our lives – including the things that we hold on to so tightly – the more free and fulfilling our lives will be.
So many of us go through life with a clenched fist, trying to control the uncontrollable, trying to mastermind all the circumstances, trying to make our plans work. So we hold tightly to the things we value – our career, our reputation, our happiness, our health, our children, our education, our wealth, our possession, even our mates. We even hold tightly to life itself. But those things we hold so tightly never really belonged to us in the first place. They always belong to God. He loaned them to us, and when the time comes he will take them back again. Happy are those people who hold lightly the things they value greatly. (pp. 67-68)